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Constituency sport money diverted

A catastrophic collapse of trust between school teachers and the Government of Botswana has led to the sudden death of sports in schools, but the Ministry of Youth Empowerment, Sport and Culture is already thinking to divert the constituency sport tournament funds to help normalize this persisting problem of extra curriculum activities – WeekendSport has learned.

This comes to the fore following many years of unrest and untamed bedlam on the side of teachers who wanted to be compensated for nurturing talent even beyond stipulated working hours. The government, at first, became a hardnosed negotiator until a time the tussle reached boiling point. Teachers downed tools and the Ministry of Basic Education decided to suspend ball sports together with athletics on the basis that money is their primary undoing.

The Ministry of Basic Education says it owes teachers close to P30 million and they say the decision to suspend the school sports programme partly has to do with this debt.This puts government priorities in the open when it comes to sports.The Permanent Secretary of the sport ministry, Kago Ramokate recently acknowledged that government’s budget in sports is limited and this is why many sport centres of excellence in the country are not supported.

But having noticed a traceable record and massive impact brought by this school programme, the sports ministry is busy working out on modalities surrounding the constituency sport tournaments and perhaps come up with convincing and appealing arguments that part of the money be channelled to sport school activities, sources have told this publication.Constituency sport tournament is a government programme that targets out of school youth with the objective of promoting mass participation in sport for leisure, fitness, social engagement and recreation.

It was first established in July of 2008 under the administration of former President Sir Seretse Khama Ian Khama and it includes netball, football and volleyball. Observers argue that it was Khama’s master strategy to endear himself and the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) to the unemployed class.There are 3 cycles of this constituency sports tournament in a year. Each cycle consumes a total of P 13 million which means P39 million is needed for the whole year. Some officials therefore find it absurd to spend such lump sums of money in the sport fraternity that is often devoid of technical management.  It is said a total of 80 000 players participate across the three ball sports.

Sources say it is now wise to kill at least the third cycle in order to divert this money into school sports programme where management is easily in place. The argument is that during the last phase (between October and January) people are normally in a festive mood thus reducing the often mass participation. The sport ministry, according to sources, will have to take this money to organize school sports.

Part of the money is also expected to be channelled towards preparation of athletes as they seek qualification for the Olympic Games.


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Finally, sponsors jerk BFA

30th January 2023

With many being of the view that the state of football in Botswana has deteriorated significantly as it is no longer appealing to the business community, this was a good week for the football community. The Botswana Football Association (BFA) leadership under the stewardship of MacLean Letshwiti secured sponsorship for a combined value of P19. 3 million for the FA Cup competition and the First Division league – both South and North.

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Clubs petition Zackhem, Jagdish Shah

23rd January 2023

Some disgruntled Botswana Football League (BFL) shareholders are planning to petition the BFL board led by Gaborone United director and chief financier Nicolas Zackhem and his treasurer Jagdish Shah. Furthermore, they want to challenge the Botswana football Association (BFA) leadership over the deteriorating status of football in the country.

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P80 million windfall for BFA

9th January 2023

Botswana Football Association (BFA) is poised to benefit from FIFA’s forward development programme. The Association will receive over P80 million to be used during the course of the next four years, as the world football governing body is strengthens its commitment to building a stronger foundation and the growth of football.

The Forward 3.0 funds – to be accessed by all 54 CAF members for the next four years have seen an increase of USD 2 million compared to Forward 2.0 cycle and Forward 1.0 cycle when the programme was launched.

According to FIFA President Gianni Infantino, the third cycle of the programme will be launched this month and it will dedicate more financial resources than before to developing football nations as there is an overall increase of approximately 30% compared to Forward 2.0.

“It is vital that we are now strengthening our commitment to building a stronger foundation for the growth of football,” Infantino noted.

The 62 page report by FIFA-Forward-Development-Programme-Forward-3-0-regulations also reveals that for travel and equipment, each member association, subject to compliance with the regulations, will receive an additional USD 1 million to cover the cost of travel and accommodation for their national teams. It further states that the remaining funds may be used to cover the cost of travel and accommodation for domestic competitions organized by the member associations.

“A contribution of up to USD 200,000 for the four-year cycle (2023-2026) to cover the cost of any football equipment related to the training of players and organization of matches (e.g. full kits for the national teams, balls, mini goals, bibs, substitution boards and referees’ communication systems) for those member associations that are identified as needing the most assistance,” the report indicated.

FIFA President, Infantino and his team said the member association is identified as needing the most assistance, for the purpose of the contributions, where their annual revenues (excluding Forward Programme funds as well as funds from any other FIFA programme/ initiative) do not exceed USD 4 million as the figure shall be reflected in the latest annual statutory audit report submitted to the FIFA general secretariat within six months after the closing of the relevant financial year.

Nevertheless, the contributions for travel will be released in four equal installments of USD 250,000 each in January every year, whilst those for equipment will be released in four equal installments of USD 50,000 each in January every year provided that the member association has fulfilled the conditions.

For the specific projects – in the case of Botswana and Namibia – there is an ambition to host the AFCON 2027 and if the joint bid succeed, the two nations will need to build new stadium to meet the requirements of CAF as the Bid technical committee has alluded before; therefore the two associations could make an appeal for extra funds to FIFA.

The report further says where a member association uses funds allocated for specific projects to improve or build new football infrastructure for its direct benefit or for the benefit of another entity (e.g. regional associations or clubs), the member association shall also provide, as part of the supporting documents, the FIFA general secretariat with the relevant national land registry certificate or extract confirming that the member association or the other entity is the owner of the land or the agreements confirming the donation, transfer or other form of provision to, or use of land by the association.

When contacted for comment, local sports analyst, Jimmy George said; “Ours is more a lack of vision, than money to finance programs. Regrettably when you lack vision not even USD 8 million can bail you out. Its pity the funds might be used to pay for the past projects that have yielded very little success.”

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